Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Harmony Hall Community Centre to close

Users and Community Campaign to Save Harmony Hall from Closure

For Immediate Release
Harmony Hall is set to close. This small, well-established community building in Truro Road, just off the market in High Street, has a rich history in providing for local workers, youth and the community generally over generations. Now the owners, a registered charity called Livability Charity No. 1116530, have decided to sell-off the building to solve its own financial crisis. The heroic efforts of the Harmony Hall Trustees to raise the money to buy it have failed. 

The possibility of closure is terrible news.

Around seventy local user groups - faith groups across all cultures, mental health groups for all ages, language classes of all kinds, children’s activities and much more - are all welcomed into this lovely characterful and homely building. Some meet weekly, others more irregularly. The building is one of the few meeting places left in central Walthamstow, and it is accessible.

This closure could have disastrous consequences for vulnerable people with mental health issues. Andy Munton of ELMS said Mental health services in WF been decimated over the past 10 years – all the day centres have been closed and rehab programmes run down . The Elms weekly lunch club with its various social activities (every Thursday 12-4) attracts upwards of 40-50 every week. The centre’s closure would be devastating for our users It represents the one safe haven for users during difficult times, a place to meet people of similar experience, a place where they will not be judged and a space where creativity, in terms of arts and crafts, can flourish with the rolling art displays from Think Arts bringing life and colour to the building and the wider community.”

Similar sentiments have been expressed by groups offering young people access to an alternative lifestyle to drugs and knife crime. The consequences for the community don’t bear thinking about.

Linda Taaffe a long-time campaigner with Save Our Square commented, “Harmony Hall is almost an icon of that community spirit so lauded by councillors. Yet the neither the local council, nor City Hall has been able to offer any help so far. 

The inscription over the entrance reads: 
“Harmony Hall, a multi-cultural family centre serving the people of central Walthamstow”. The building started life in 1936 as the Marsh Street Mission and we are alarmed that the building will likely be bought-up by one single rich faith group. We fear it is heading in the direction of the Hoe Street cinema mark 2. Harmony Hall belongs to all in our community – not to any one single faith group.”
User groups have called an emergency public meeting at 
7pm on Thursday 28th February in Harmony Hall Truro Road, E17 7BY 

open to all user groups, the wider community, friends and neighbours. We won’t stand by and let this closure happen.

For further information please contact Katherine Newbigging of Locality
Linda Taaffe Waltham Forest Trade Union Council on 07952283558

Save Our Square - Save Our Trees

SoSq need you to be our
 "EYES and EARS"
 to help defend the trees and open space in our Town Square.

If you see
Men in hard hats measuring the space
Notice lorries arriving with hoardings
Suspect work is starting on the development

CALL TREE DEFENDERS on 07958 032071 or 07952 283558

This will enable us to activate our supporters to come and protest at they did in Sheffield and start to the battle to save 81 trees and open space.

FACEBOOK  Save Our Square E17

To donate to the campaign:   https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/saveoursquare2

A new path is being built by Tfl from the bus stop in Selborne Road to the open space. Curious, as this is the space where part of the extension to the shopping centre will be built starting next year if C&R are to be believed! Oh and they have decided one of the trees is diseased so this will be felled at the same time.

Buxton Road - old Cinema

The old Buxton Road cinema, which has been derelict for decades due to a tax battle, is to be replaced by a 5 storey block with 48 Flats. Planning Permission runs out at the end of this year so it will be interesting to see if this scheme goes ahead!

Dignity Day

BGORUG update


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Congestion being created

Having looked at numerous planning applications it strikes me the council has lost control of the real issues. If the planning process approves a new building it does so in isolation from other considerations i.e. health, water, electricity, schools and transport infrastructure.

In Walthamstow the following developments are being planned to start in 2020 i.e. next year.

The Mall (Town Centre) (544 Flats) 2020 - 2025 at least (accessible only from Selborne Road)

Walthamstow Station upgrade - (accessible only from Selborne Road)

Central House (Strettons) (Hotel) 2020 – 2022 (accessible via Stainforth Road and St Mary’s Road)

Juniper House (91 flats) 2020 – 2022 (accessible via First Avenue)

Granada Cinema (EMD) – major refurbishment (accessible only from Hoe Street)

Town Hall Campus (600 flats) 2020 – 2030 (past the Bell pub and along Forest Road)

In Leyton

The Score Centre (750 flats)   2020 to 2025 (only accessible from Oliver Road)

New school in Lea Bridge Road

New tower blocks at junction of Oliver Road and Lea Bridge Road.

This will mean construction vehicles leaving the North Circular and coming up the A112 Chingford Road, past the Bell (now a very successful pub) and into the already congested Hoe Street. The Planning Committee have not decided the outcome on these applications (The Mall is only partly approved) but I think we can assume they will all be approved. If they all start at the same time the Town Centre will continue to be a building site, as it has been for the last 3 years, which does not improve its chances of success. The noise and pollution will continue to get worse and the congestion along Hoe Street will be unacceptable.

Hundreds of construction workers will be used on the sites and the only way they will be able to get to the sites will be by public transport. The Victoria Line and Central Line are already at capacity and there will be thousands more people using it between Walthamstow Central and Tottenham Hale as the new flats along Forest Road become occupied.

Bear in mind thousands of people either live in this area or use the shopping centre and plans must be put in place to ensure normal life can continue.

Can the planners and highways put together a proper logistics plan showing how many vehicles per hour will be coming along this route, how they will service the sites via St Mary’s Road, First Avenue and Selborne Road and what traffic control will be in place to ensure Hoe Street is not brought to a halt?  

Plans will also be needed for Leyton as Lea Bridge Road is a key route through the Borough and Leyton and Walthamstow grind to a halt if traffic gets blocked in Lea Bridge Road. What discussions have been held with the GLA to ensure the area is not gridlocked?

My feeling is only one development at a time should be permitted otherwise Hoe Street, a major thoroughfare, will just not cope and people’s lives will become a misery.